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The Twelve Days of Christmas are probably the most misunderstood part of the church year among Christians who are not part of liturgical church traditions. Contrary to much popular belief, these are not the twelve days before Christmas, but the twelve days from Christmas until the beginning of Epiphany  (January 6th; the 12 days count from December 25th until January 5th).  The popular song “The Twelve Days of Christmas” is usually seen as simply a nonsense song for children. However, some have suggested that it is a song of Christian instruction dating to the 16th century religious wars in England, with hidden references to the basic teachings of the Faith.  They contend that it was a mnemonic device to teach the catechism to youngsters. The “true love” mentioned in the song is not an earthly suitor, but refers to God Himself. The “me” who receives the presents refers to every baptized person who is part of the Christian Faith. Each of the “days” represents some aspect of the Christian Faith that was important for children to learn. However, many have questioned the historical accuracy of this origin of the song The Twelve Days of Christmas.  It seems that some have made an issue out of trying to debunk this as an “urban myth,” some in the name of historical accuracy and some out of personal agendas.  The bottom line is that while there is no substantive evidence to demonstrate that the song ‘The Twelve Days of Christmas’ was created or used as a secret means of preserving tenets of the Catholic faith, there is no “substantive evidence” that will disprove it either.  So, for the sake of historical accuracy, we need to acknowledge this uncertainty, but not allow it to ruin our celebration.  So just for fun, can you identify the hidden meaning behind each verse?

On the 1st day of Christmas my true love gave to me… A Partridge in a Pear Tree

The partridge in a pear tree is Jesus the Christ, the Son of God, whose birthday we celebrate on December 25, the first day of Christmas. In the song, Christ is symbolically presented as a mother partridge that feigns injury to decoy predators from her helpless nestlings, recalling the expression of Christ’s sadness over the fate of Jerusalem: “Jerusalem! Jerusalem! How often would I have sheltered you under my wings, as a hen does her chicks, but you would not have it so . . . .” (Luke 13:34)

 On the 2nd day of Christmas my true love gave to me… Two Turtle Doves

The Old and New Testaments, which together bear witness to God’s self-revelation in history and the creation of a people to tell the Story of God to the world.  The dove is a bird allowed to be used for sacrifice in the Old Testament, reminding us of Christ’s sacrifice in the New Testament.

On the 3rd day of Christmas my true love gave to me… Three French Hens

The Three Christian Virtues Saint Paul tells us about in his poem in 1 Corinthians 13:13  are 1) Faith, 2) Hope, and 3) Love.  French hens were of much value and worth, just as Faith, Hope and Love are treasures to be highly prized.

On the 4th day of Christmas my true love gave to me… Four Calling Birds

Four Calling Birds are the Four Gospels: 1) Matthew, 2) Mark, 3) Luke, and 4) John, which proclaim the Good News of God’s reconciliation of the world to Himself in Jesus Christ.

On the 5th day of Christmas my true love gave to me… Five Gold Rings

Five Gold Rings are the first Five Books of the Old Testament, known as the Torah or the Pentateuch:  1) Genesis, 2) Exodus, 3) Leviticus, 4) Numbers, and 5) Deuteronomy, which gives the history of humanity’s sinful failure and God’s response of grace in the creation of a people to be a light to the world.

On the 6th day of Christmas my true love gave to me… Six Geese A-Laying

Six Geese A-laying and tending their nest will eventually lead to the creation of new life.  This symbolizes the six days of creation that confesses God as Creator and Sustainer of the world in Genesis 1.

On the 7th day of Christmas my true love gave to me… Seven Swans A-Swimming

Seven Swans A-swimming represent the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit that should be present in our hearts: 1) prophecy, 2) ministry, 3) teaching, 4) exhortation, 5) giving, 6) leading, and 7) compassion as listed in Romans chapter 12: verses6-8; and 1 Corinthians chapter 12: verses 8-11.

On the 8th day of Christmas my true love gave to me… Eight Maids A-Milking

Eight Maids A-milking who provide for others from their labor are symbolic for the eight Beatitudes of those who the church should likewise labor for: 1) Blessed are the poor in spirit, 2) those who mourn, 3) the meek, 4) those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, 5) the merciful, 6) the pure in heart, 7) the peacemakers, 8) those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake.  From Matthew 5:3-10

n the 9th day of Christmas my true love gave to me… Nine Ladies Dancing

Nine Ladies Dancing represent the nine Fruits of the Holy Spirit as listed in Galatians 5:22: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.  (Galatians 5:22)

On the 10th day of Christmas my true love gave to me… Ten Lords A-Leaping

Ten Lords A-leaping remind us of the ten commandments: 1) You shall have no other gods before me; 2) Do not take God’s name in vain; 3) Remember the Sabbath Day and keep it Holy; 4) Honor your father and mother; 5) Do not murder; 6) Do not commit adultery; 7) Do not steal; 8) Do not bear false witness; 9; Do not covet your neighbor’s house 10) Do not covet your neighbor’s wife or other possessions. (Exodus 20:1-17)

n the 11th day of Christmas my true love gave to me… Eleven Pipers Piping

Eleven Pipers Piping reminds us of the eleven Faithful Apostles: 1) Simon Peter, 2) Andrew, 3) James, 4) John, 5) Philip, 6) Bartholomew, 7) Matthew, 8) Thomas, 9) James bar Alphaeus, 10) Simon the Zealot, 11) Judas bar James.  (Luke 6:14-16).  The list does not include the twelfth disciple, Judas Iscariot who betrayed Jesus to the Romans.

n the 12th day of Christmas my true love gave to me… Twelve Drummers Drumming

The twelve points of doctrine in the Apostle’s Creed:

1) I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.
2) I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord.
3) He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary.
4) He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried.  He descended into hell.
5) On the third day he rose again. He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
6) He will come again to judge the living and the dead.
7) I believe in the Holy Spirit,
8) the holy catholic Church,
9) the communion of saints,
10) the forgiveness of sins,
11) the resurrection of the body,
12) and life everlasting.

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Service Times & Directions

Weekend Masses in English

Saturday Morning: 8:00 am

Saturday Vigil: 4:30 pm

Sunday: 7:30 am, 9:00 am, 10:45 am,
12:30 pm, 5:30 pm

Weekend Masses In Español

Saturday Vigil: 6:15pm

Sunday: 9:00am, 7:15pm

Weekday Morning Masses

Monday, Tuesday, Thursday & Friday: 8:30 am

6654 Main Street
Wonderland, AK 45202
(513) 555-7856